On February 21st, 2008, the Brigham Young University newspaper The Daily Universe weighed in with an article entitled "Speech Police - The Danger of Political Correctness". Their concern is that preoccupation with political correctness could censor and quash honest debate.
Here's a key excerpt from their article:
As the debate rolls on, politicians and the majority of the general public continue to miss the real issues at stake with Buttars' words and the fiery reaction they sparked. Political correctness and its underlying need to protect from offense and affirm the right to self-esteem are the enemies of energetic debate and the political process. Few things thwart free and honest thinking like the constant threat of legislators losing their job.
The framers of the U.S. Constitution recognized the importance of protecting vigorous debate, and they built these protections into our founding document - not only in the First Amendment but also Article One, Section Six. The U.S. Constitution protects legislators from arrest or legal questioning for things said on the House or Senate floor. The founders' aim was not to promote slanderous, bigoted or otherwise damaging speech but to promote the spirited pursuit of the good of the country.
While the U.S. Constitution does not protect national or state legislators from public scrutiny, the framers' goal provides a valuable lesson in this regard. The pursuit of the good of the community cannot take place when public servants are scared that a word or phrase may be taken out of context to frame a hit job against them. If Buttars were to resign or fail to seek re-election in response to the public outcry surrounding his remarks, it would set (or continue upon) an unhealthy precedent in Utah politics. Yes, politicians need to be held accountable for their speech and actions. That's what elections are for, and Buttars' fate should be left to the voters.
Exactly. And this is precisely the reason why I vigorously endorse Chris Buttars' decision to seek re-election. It is necessary for the sake of democracy that he do so, to demonstrate to the community that our leaders and representatives will continue to be chosen democratically by the people and not controlled or imposed upon us by unelected elitist advocates or gadflies like the NAACP or Equality Utah.
The Daily Universe also points out that once the race card was played, Buttars' true concern was rendered insignificant if even heard. They also condemn the idea of assuming that Buttars' comments was intentionally racist without reading into them or limiting the word "black" to a revision of the English language that throws aside traditional metaphorical use of the word. They believe no group should have that sort of monopoly on that word or its proper usage.
Blacks and to a lesser degree, Jews, have arbitrarily decided that they have had a monopoly on suffering, and seek to impose their terms and definitions upon the rest of us. Facilitating them have been a phalanx of idealistic, naive, self-hating whites who purport to define our morality for us because they think their liberal-arts college degrees make them superior to the rest of us. They are no different in spirit than religious fanatics, except they are fanatics of a secular religion. This is why they hate theological religion, particularly conservative Christianity, so much - because, to them, it is competition.
And on February 24th, Chris Buttars took another step towards mending fences - with the people who count, not the activists. According to the Salt Lake Tribune, Buttars stood at a microphone at Calvary Baptist Church on Sunday and apologized to the congregation for racially insensitive comments he made on the floor of the Utah Senate. "All I can do," Buttars said, "is say I'll beg your forgiveness. It was wrong. It was stupid. And I ask, if it's possible, forgive me."
"I knew as soon as I said it, that it was a horrible remark," Buttars continued, but insisted he never meant it in reference to a person. "All I can do is say I'm sorry." Some in the pews answered with responses of "All right," and "Amen." As Buttars concluded, about a third of the congregation stood and applauded.
And the Rev. France Davis accepted his apology. After the service, parishioners shook the senator's hand and thanked him for coming. Some posed for pictures with Buttars and his wife.
But there's little chance that Buttars will mend the relationship with the civil rights group. Buttars has refused to resign his seat and says he will seek re-election, and the NAACP's regional president, Jeanetta Williams, said the group is encouraging challengers to run against him and may stage a protest at the Capitol this week.
Bring on the NAACP. It's about time we broke their back.